A Few S&W J-Frame Questions

A Few S&W J-Frame Questions

This is a discussion on A Few S&W J-Frame Questions within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Is there any advantage having a 357 model when shooting 38 with it, over just having the 38 model? I have seen a few people ...

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Thread: A Few S&W J-Frame Questions

  1. #1
    Member Array Diablo's Avatar
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    A Few S&W J-Frame Questions

    Is there any advantage having a 357 model when shooting 38 with it, over just having the 38 model? I have seen a few people post that you get less recoil...I don't really see how that is possible.

    Is there much difference in the recoil between one that is 12oz, 13.5oz, 15oz? Can't Imagine that there would be much.

    Anyone have an opinion as to which model has the smoothest DAO trigger?

    Anyone suggest a good 38 round that has the least kick?
    Last edited by Diablo; October 13th, 2009 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Added DAO in regards to trigger


  2. #2
    Member Array slade's Avatar
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    The .357 magnum load in my 340PD (12oz) has a bit of recoil. I'm 6'1 250lbs... big bones... so it's ok for me. The only advantage of the .357 over the 38+p would be knock down power which, in a close quarter conflict, would probably not matter that much.
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    There is no "down side" in having a .357.

    You have the extra versatility of shooting your choice of either .38 or .357.

    With a .38, well you're shooting .38 only.

    When I carry my Ruger SP101, I carry it loaded with 135 gr Gold Dot .38spl +P, and it's a .357.
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    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
    Is there any advantage having a 357 model when shooting 38 with it, over just having the 38 model? I have seen a few people post that you get less recoil...I don't really see how that is possible.

    Is there much difference in the recoil between one that is 12oz, 13.5oz, 15oz? Can't Imagine that there would be much.

    Anyone have an opinion as to which model has the smoothest trigger?

    Anyone suggest a good 38 round that has the least kick?
    In a lightweight J-frame there is some difference in recoil, the heavier the gun the less noticeable the recoil. An airweight snubbie loaded with a full house .357 can be painful for some shooters, especially if you're firing a lot of rounds at the range.

    As far as the trigger, are we talking about DAO or DA/SA? Just about any revolver has a smoother lighter trigger in SA.

    For my .38 snubbie I prefer the Federal Nyclad standard pressure rounds for defensive ammo. CorBon 110 grain DPX is another good round with good ballistics for most short barrel revolvers.
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  5. #5
    Member Array Diablo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergirl View Post

    As far as the trigger, are we talking about DAO or DA/SA? Just about any revolver has a smoother lighter trigger in SA.
    DAO

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
    DAO
    If the trigger action is really bad a good gunsmith can do a "trigger job" in most DAO revolvers, if it doesn't smooth out with use.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

  7. #7
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    A DAOnly S&W revolver can be given a smoother DA trigger pull than the DA pull on a S&W DA/SA revolver by a custom gunsmith due to the hammer differences.

  8. #8
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    The .357cylinders are harder to clean after shooting .38's. But not much.

    The lightest guns are also .357 capable. If weight is the most important thing for you - get the 340 and you'll get the lightweight and also .357 capable.

    I've got the 340M&P. It weights half way between the 642 and the regular 340. It weighs around 13 & 1/2 oz.

    I like the M&P for it's steel cylinder (makes it easier to clean) which gives it the extra weight.

    I also want the .357 magnum capability. But then that's so it will match the ammo used in my main gun, the all steel 640 (at 23 oz.). I doubt if a bad guy could tell the differnce between being shot with a hot .38+p like the Speer for short barrels and the fairly modestly powered .357's I carry (DPX).

    The 15 oz. 642 (and the blue 442) is more pleasant to shoot than the 340. It's still a nice weight for pocket use and gives you less recoil. It's also only 38+p. That's probably all you need really if the truth were known. That is if you choose ammo with care. You can't go wrong with the Speer Short Barrel 135 gr. stuff IMO. But....if you use mild .38 specials you'll be on the low end of acceptable self defense power IMO.

    My all steel 640 is too heavy for pocket carry IMO. I use it on the belt and the 340 as a back up.

    "Hammerless" Centennial models are considered to have a little better trigger than the hammered models. My 640 trigger is head and shoulders better than my 340 trigger also (even though they are both Centennial models). It's also a darn sight nicer to shoot at the range. I doubt I'd feel the difference in a gunfight though.

    A 15oz. 642 will be nicer to shoot than a 340 by a little bit if you are using hot loads. I also doubt that you'd feel any difference in recoil in a gunfight.

    Bottom line IMO is that you should borrow or rent a 340. Shoot a few light to medium magnum loads and a few decently hot .38 spl. loads. If the recoil bothers you enough that you think you wouldn't be able to get the second shot on target in time - get a 15 oz. gun like the 642 and stay with a well chosen .38 spl. round for carry.


    There - that's everything I know.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array AZ Desertrat's Avatar
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    I often carry .38 +P in my .357's.....besides, it gets expensive shooting .357's all the time. Hehehehehe
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    You have a choice or ammo, .38 or .357...and a bit heavier frame for shooting the .38's...good choice.
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    Member Array johnnyrigger's Avatar
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    I have a 340, the only reason I am keeping it is because the SN# matches the last 4 of my SSN #. But I am going to get me a 642, or the 640. But I am a small guy at 5'9" and 160 lbs. I have shot 357, and 38's out of my 340, and they both hurt!!

  12. #12
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    Just some thoughts
    1..357 mag vs .38 ( only ) I prefer chambered for .357 but if you get .38, then would advise being sure it will handle P+ ammo.
    2. IMHO weight does MATTER. The dif. in " felt recoil" ( the lighter the gun = more felt recoil
    3. Grips = can make a dif. in "felt recoil" both in "design & material
    Wood grips & hard synthetic = more "felt recoil"

    GUN SMITH WORK =
    1. "Tuning"( polishing or work the action in ) = S&W's are usually fairly "smooth" out of the box. BUT you can smooth them out more by simply dry firing it a few 100 xs ( ALWAYS LOADED WITH DUMMY ROUNDS ). You can also take it to a GOOD gun smith & have it "honed"
    2. Spring,& other work. WARNING if you have ANY work done that "alters" the factory specs:
    A. Voids Warranty
    B. If gun is used for PD & it has been "altered" then LEGAL PROBLEMS
    C. Lighter springs can cause MISFIRES

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  14. #14
    Member Array Bart's Avatar
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    My wife has a .38 spl. snubby. Why? Because she will only shoot .38 spl. cal. Also, the gun is lighter (ultra-lite) than a .357 making it easier and more comfortable to carry. As for the recoil of a .38 spl., it's a piece of cake, even with the lightest of the guns. My daughter could shoot a .38 spl. all day long when she was 9 yrs. old.(and my .45 acp.) If a 9 yr.old little girl can handle the recoil of a .38 spl. J-frame with ease, then any adult can.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Have the M&P 340 and the availability of two calibers is very nice. I have used 110 grain hydra shok low recoil and they work very well but overall i recommend the GDHP in short barrel 135 grain.
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